Basileus of Macedon, Hegemon of the Hellenic League, Pharaoh (Emperor) of Egypt, Shahanshah of Persia |
Alexander fighting Persian king Darius III. From Alexander Mosaic, from Pompeii, Naples, Naples National Archaeological Museum |
Reign | 336–323 BC |
Predecessor | Philip II of Macedon |
Successor | Alexander IV of Macedon |Spouse | Roxana of Bactria, Stateira of Persia |
Alexander IV of Macedon |
Father | Philip II of Macedon |
Mother | Olympias of Epirus |
Born | 20 July 356 BC Pella, Macedon in Greece |
Died | 10 June or 11 June 323 BC (aged 32) Babylon |
[show] v • d • e Wars of Alexander the Great | |
Alexander III of Macedon,popularly known to history as Alexander the Great, ("Mégas Aléxandros", Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας or Μέγας Ἀλέξανδρος,) was an Ancient Greeki[›] king (basileus) of Macedon. Born in 356 BC, Alexander succeeded his father Philip II of Macedon to the throne in 336 BC, and died in Bablyon in 323 BC at the age of 32.
Alexander was one of the most successful military commanders of all time and it ispresumed that he was undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered the Achaemenid Persian Empire, adding it to Macedon's European territories; according to some modern writers, this was much of the world then known to the ancient Greeks (the 'Ecumene').ii[›] His father, Philip, had unified most of the city-states of mainland Greece under Macedonian hegemony in the League ofCorinth. As well as inheriting hegemony over the Greeks, Alexander also inherited the Greeks' long-running feud with the Achaemenid Empire of Persia. After reconfirming Macedonian rule by quashing a rebellion of southern Greek city-states, Alexander launched a short but successful campaign against Macedon's northern neighbours. He was then able to turn his attention towards the east and the Persians.In a series of campaigns lasting 10 years, Alexander's armies repeatedly defeated the Persians in battle, in the process conquering the entirety of the Empire. He then, following his desire to reach the 'ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea', invaded India, but was eventually forced to turn back by the near-mutiny of his troops.
Alexander died after twelve years of constant militarycampaigning, possibly a result of malaria, poisoning, typhoid fever, viral encephalitis or the consequences of alcoholism. His legacy and conquests lived on long after him and ushered in centuries of Greek settlement and cultural influence over distant areas. This period is known as the Hellenistic period, which featured a combination of Greek, Middle Eastern and Indian culture. Alexander himselffeatured prominently in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. His exploits inspired a literary tradition in which he appeared as a legendary hero in the tradition of Achilles.
There are numerous surviving ancient Greek and Latin texts about Alexander, as well as some non-Greek texts. The primary sources, texts written by people who actually knew Alexander or who gatheredinformation from men who served with Alexander, are all lost, apart from a few inscriptions and fragments. Contemporaries who wrote accounts of his life include Alexander's campaign historian Callisthenes; Alexander's generals Ptolemy and Nearchus;Aristobulus, a junior officer on the campaigns; and Onesicritus, Alexander's chief helmsman. Finally, there is the very influential account ofCleitarchus who, while not a direct witness of Alexander's expedition, used sources which had just been published. His work was to be the backbone of that of Timagenes, who heavily influenced many historians whose work still survives. None of these works survives, but we do have later works based on these primary sources.
The five main surviving accounts are by Arrian, Curtius, Plutarch,...